F ‘n’ C – Cooper’s Catch…
On a whim me and the wife took the kids up to Kaikoura for the day yesterday to check out the seals (and if luck permitted, a whale) and a bite to eat. A long way to go for Fish ‘n’ Chips, but let me tell you…it was bloody well worth it!
For those who have followed some of my traipses through the forgotten diners of the Canterbury region you may be familiar with my scathing review on a supposed “best” takeaway joint in Waikuku Beach (stop complaining, you had your chance)…well “best” seems to be the catch cry for any old Tom, Dick and Harry who can deep-fry a potato within an inch of its life, but Cooper’s up in Kaikoura will go down as ‘better than the best’ in my book, and sets a bench-mark for others to follow.
We didn’t go into the place specifically, it just seemed to be the first genuine fish n chip shop in a town that seems more interested in enticing tourist dollars with cosmopolitan frontage rather than concentrate its capital into providing the best
(this is not to say their fare is no good as I cannot possibly comment, but when someone wants the humble f’n’c, simplicity rules.
The shop itself is quaint and has a real surfy feel to it, and the extensive arrays of world maps on the wall seem an odd design feature until you take a closer interest in them – names and scratchings from world-wide visitors that have eaten here seem to be a pretty good review of the fare if nothing else.
And then there is the food…pretty standard looking menu for a Kiwi takeaways with the obligatory localised attempt at being different – “Codwater Classic” and “Cooper’s Stack” are a couple of examples of the burgers available…and so we set about in ordering;
- a kid’s selection for Renee which had chips and 4 chicken nuggets
- a kid’s selection for Dee which had chips, a sausage, and a donut
- a scoop fo chips and 2 x Southern Blue Whiting for us
- a “Farmer” burger for myself (egg & bacon)
- a “Kaiks Hawaiin” for the boss
- all up about $36 which seemed quite pricey – back home we get 2 x burgers, 2 scoops, 12 fish bites and 2 sausages (for the dogs) always gives us change from $20.
- Out on Kaikoura’s Esplanade we let the dogs eat their lunch and wander the beach while we feasted…and what a feast!!! I can safely say that I have not tasted a burger like this since my days back at Golden Beach Takeaways in Beachaven, Akld, where I frequented 15 years ago (and was 30kg heavier I might add).
Unfortunately Katie hadn’t figured on letting me sample her burger so I cannot comment on this, although it was apparent it was more than sufficient. Mine was divine. But the chips, while not ample in amounts, were something quite extraordinary. I cannot explain how other than tell you have to eat them to believe them. Not traditionally firm crispy ships like the standard fare, they almost gave the impression of being soggy…but to eat…mmmmmmm. They were so good, and filling I had to finish off the kid’s chips too, as well as a yummy chicken nugget (not my favourite item of food, but a whole lot better than McD’s). But I do have to comment on the fish – we bought the cheapest fish on the menu (at $3 each I think) and didn’t hold much hope for anything other than average…however, if this is how the cheap stuff costs, I can only assume the pricier cuts must be seafood equivalent of truffles! The fish cannot be bettered (but must be battered)!
Go, is all I can say…enjoy the shop, the friendly staff, the feel of coastal New Zealand, and the fine art of deep-frying. 350km round-trip seemed a minimal effort when taken in context. A real credit to Kaikoura and we wait in anticipation for our return over the summer holidays where we have now decided to camp.
PiS…Kakoura has so much more than fine takeaways going for it…check out the seals (the kids had never seen any) and walking along the rugged coastline south of the town was fun for all involved, including the dogs. A great day away.